Food & Drink: Weekend Cook 9: Italian Tomato And Bread Salad

Serves two Total time: 45 minutes
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THIS DISH is a deconstructed gazpacho with a few capers thrown in, perfect for hot-weather grazing. The bread must be the rough-and-ready type, with an open-textured crumb, and the capers would ideally be those tiny ones that burst with flavour.

350g/12oz plum tomatoes

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp golden caster sugar

50g/2oz day-old white bread

(weight excluding crusts)

1/3 cucumber

Extra virgin olive oil

1/4 red onion, finely sliced

1/2 tbsp capers, rinsed

A few basil leaves, torn in two

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp red wine vinegar

Bring a medium-size pan of water to the boil. Cut out a small cone from the top of each tomato to remove the core. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for 20 seconds and then into cold water. Slip off the skins, quarter and slice into chunks. Place in a bowl, sprinkle over the salt and sugar and leave for 30 minutes for the juices to run.

In the meantime, tear the bread into rough chunks of about 2.5cm/1in and place in a bowl. Peel, quarter and deseed the cucumber and slice 0.5cm/1/4in thick. Tip the tomatoes into a sieve and drain the juices into a bowl, add three tbsp of olive oil and two tbsp of water. Sprinkle this over the bread and, once it has been absorbed, add all the remaining ingredients, including the tomatoes, and toss together. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl, taste for seasoning and pour over four tbsp of oil.